Robbie Burns is a successful trader and author of the best selling The Naked Trader book. His new book The Naked Trader?s guide to spread betting will be out in August 2010.
1. How would you describe your job?
What job? It?s more like a hobby I love that also brings me in some money!
2. Your first book ?The Naked Trader? has been very successful and
soon your second book ?The Naked Trader?s Guide to Spread Betting?
will be released. What is going to be different in your new book? As I
already have your first book, why should I buy your second?
You should only buy my spread betting book if you really think you might like to give spread betting a try. If you?re not interested in spread betting there is no need to buy it! Spread betting can be extremely dangerous and there wasn?t much room for it in my last book. I wanted to show people more in depth how it should be done but also point out how easy it is to lose a lot of money doing it. I didn?t think any current spread betting books really spelled out the dangers. As I use spread betting a lot I?ve learned what works and what doesn?t and in particular how to avoid losing money in silly ways like setting stop losses too close. I wanted to pass on everything I learned. I also wanted to show some of the conspiracy theories surrounding spread betting are nonsense!
3. You are very open on your website about exactly how much money you
are making from trading shares. Is this still your main source of
income, or are the books and seminars now the big earners for you?
Actually, none of these are the main source! The only guaranteed source of income for me is residual income which comes in every month from sales of mobiles, phones and energy I made years ago. So I am very lucky. However tax free gains from trading I use to fund big ticket items such as paying for my child?s school fees for the next 7 years, and also for buying a house. Book income is surprisingly low and that?s because I only get about 50p from book store sales and £1.70 odd for internet ones.
4. At your seminars you must get to speak to a lot of wannabe traders.
What do you learn from them?
A lot! At every seminar I usually pick up at least one or two good ideas from delegates. I also learn a lot from the mistakes they make which we discuss, mistakes I also still make and try to eradicate. I also learn time and time again that the biggest mistake made by traders is not to cut losses quickly. I hear so many stories of losses not taken which end up building into massive losses.
5. Has the credit crunch affected your style of trading?
Not really except that during the last recession I used spread bets to short the FTSE and covered warrants to short it in my SIPP. This enabled me to make money from the downside. I also sat on some cash too.
6. Have you ever considered moving from being an individual trader to
setting up your own fund to trade with other people?s money?
No I would never do that. I get approached a lot from people wanting me to run their funds. I would hate to do that ? I don?t mind if things go wrong and I lose my money but I would feel terrible if I lose someone else?s money and would not be able to cope with the guilt. That?s also the reason I haven?t become a ?tipster?. While I?m told I could make a fortune from becoming one, I wouldn?t be able to.
7. Do you ever worry that you might be encouraging people to become
trading gamblers who could lose a lot more than they can afford?
Yes. That?s why all my books emphasise time and again not to gamble but invest and not to play with money that isn?t there, especially when it comes to spread betting. If someone has a gambling problem the markets can bring it out in them. I have heard stories of gamblers losing their houses from spreadbetting. My new book points out the signs of a gambling problem and suggests Gamblers Anonymous as the place to go and that trading activity should cease. If I get emails from people and suspect they have a problem I tell them so straight. In the end I hope my activities don?t encourage people to gamble. It?s the reason I don?t put up most of my spread bets on my site.
8. Although day trading can make money, some people will never make
it. What advice could you give for knowing when it is time to give up!
Well first off I would tell people NOT to daytrade. Having visited some of the spread betting firms I know more than 90% of day traders lose. I would say if someone has tried trading for a year and lost badly they should consider giving up. And if they realise they have a gambling problem they should stop all trading activity immediately and never go back.
9. What is your favourite financial 1) blog, 2) book and 3)
1 ? Don?t read blogs ? 2 ? I like the book by on Market psychology by Jason Zweig ?Your Money and Your Brain?. 3 -Advfn.com.
10. And finally ? what is your secret for making the perfect toast?
Don?t burn it!! I used to own a café and had a great cook. Except she always burnt the toast, used to drive me bananas. My favourite marmalade is Tesco?s Finest. I get through three jars a week!